You should begin the process of looking for invitations approximately 6-12 months before your event. This will allow time to narrow down all the choices, order them, calligraphy/address them, mail them out and receive the responses back in enough time to give your caterer a count for the reception. At this time you should also order “Save the Date” announcements. This will allow out of town guests to arrange travel plans early and get everyone excited about the upcoming event.
You should place the actual invitation order approximately 3-6 months before your event and mail them out 8-10 weeks before.
The individual pieces of the order will depend on your event and personal preferences. Here are some options:
- Invitations – You have the option to line the envelope and print the return address on the outer envelope.
- Response Cards – Most response cards come with a matching printed envelope for your guests to mail back. Traditionally, you will stamp these so your guest will only need to fill it out and mail it back.
- Reception Cards – If your reception is at a different location from your event site, you may need a separate reception card that will include information such as what kind of reception (Dinner Reception, Adult Reception, etc.) and where the reception will be held.At Home Cards – These are insert cards to let your guests know where you will be residing after a wedding.
- Direction Cards – They are not required but sometimes helpful. They can contain either written or drawn/computer generated directions to the event, ceremony and/or reception sites.
- Thank You Notes - Matching thank you notes are available with most invitation styles.
- Announcements – These cards simply announce a marriage of the couple. They are traditionally sent to people who have not received a formal wedding invitation.
- Save the Date – Most people will send out a save the date card so that their guests will mark their calendars for the date of the event.
- Programs – Programs help people at the event understand rituals that might be different than their culture/religion. Programs involve the audience more in the event by being a guide.
- Place Card/Escort Card – These cards help arrange the guests by table to avoid less confusion of who sits where. Place cards can correlate with the theme of the reception.
Invitation prices are hard to quote without picking a particular invitation. The pricing depends on the number of invitations needed and the specific pieces you order (i.e. invitation, response card, reception card, etc). I recommend coming in and looking at the different choices. Once you have a few favorites, I can price them out for you and give you a quote.
I have a wide variety of choices with over 70 books to choose from. These books range in pricing from $1 per invitation to $50 per invitation. I will help you find exactly what you are looking for in the price range that fits your budget.
The wording depends on each individual situation. Once you pick your invitation, I will assist you with the wording to fit your event.
The outer envelope should have the guests names and address. Usually this is done formally, for example:
Mr. and Mrs. John Smith
55 South Main Street
Denver, Colorado 80230
NOTE: You should never abbreviate when addressing except when using Mr., Mrs., Dr., etc.
If you have inner envelope, they specify have the names of the guests who are invited. The way you address these individuals varies depending on the formality of your event. If you are having a formal event, you would address the inner envelope like this:
Mr. and Mrs. Smith
Christine, Catherine, and Robert
NOTE: If the children are not invited you would leave off the children’s names above.
If your event is less formal or you would like it to be more personal you may address the inner envelope like this:
John, Jane, Christine, Catherine and Robert Smith
John and Jane Smith
Christine, Catherine and Robert
If you are sending the invitation to a person that is single and they can bring a guest, there are two ways to address the inner envelope. If you know the name of the guest, you can address it like this:
Mr. John Smith and Ms. Jane Doe
If you do not know the name of the guest, you can address it like this:
Mr. John Smith and Guest
NOTE: If you do not wish for the single person to bring a guest, do not include the phrase “and guest”.
Some invitations (but not all) come with a small piece of tissue. This tissue goes on top of the invitation wording. The response card goes in front of the response envelope with the flap folded over (but not inside the envelope). The response set is then placed on top of the invitation. The other enclosures (reception card, direction card, etc.) go on top of the invitation as well. The reception card typically goes on the upper half of the invitation (if it is a standard rectangular invitation) and the response set typically goes on the lower half of the invitation. If you have one, all pieces are placed in the inner envelope (the one with the lining, if applicable) so a right handed person could take it out of the envelope and read it right side up. The inner envelope then gets placed inside the outer envelope (the one with the return address, if applicable) so that when the guest opens the envelope flap and pulls out the invitation, they will be able to read their name. Then you seal the outer envelope and send them out.